4/25/11. Michael LoCurto and Alan Oberst. Michael LoCurto has been a member of the Buffalo Common Council for the Delaware District since 2006. He holds a Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning, and he has long opposed the development of the downtown casino in Buffalo. Alan Oberst is a free-lance writer for Buffalo Rising, currently working on an article on the Buffalo casino.
Councilman LoCurto discussed his initial (and continuing) opposition to the casino in Buffalo. Despite the promises of casino promoters, he has found no evidence that a casino would attract tourists to Buffalo or trigger economic development. Certainly the Seneca casino in Niagara Falls has failed to do so, despite the much greater tourist attraction of the Falls. LoCurto was one of three Council members who voted against the Cityâs sale of Fulton Street to the Seneca Gaming Corporation, and he is now among those who are questioning the SGCâs failure to fulfill the terms of the agreement that accompanied the sale of Fulton Street.
Alan Oberst asked about the perspective the Councilmanâs background in urban planning gave him on the casino issue, and his concerns about the possible impact the casino might have on the development of the Canalside/Harbor Front area. The Councilman is cautiously optimistic about the way the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation has recently been opening up the planning process to include community dialogue and involvement.
Alan Oberst pointed out that the ongoing lawsuits, which have slowed the development of the Buffalo Creek Casino without shutting it down, provide us an opportunity to examine the potentially disastrous effects of the casino on our community, the social and economic problems which have already developed. Both speakers agreed that is important for members of the community to become more involved and to speak out on this issue.